I was recently at a networking event when I was asked what my top three organizing tips were. As a million thoughts ran through my head, I had to really stop and think what the top 3 were. If you were to Google ‘Organizing Tips’ you’ll get the following:
That’s right, 33,800,000 results! So how does one pick only three? I quickly decided on the three things I do to ensure that the systems I have in place for my home and office stay in place. These are my top three tips (in no particular order).
Never leave a room empty handed
There is bound to be something that needs to be taken to another room, taken upstairs (or downstairs), or put away. It could be an empty glass that needs to go in the sink or dishwasher, a newspaper that needs to get recycled, etc. When it’s time to leave a room, look around to ensure you are not leaving empty handed.
Put things away – right away
This is something that is taught at a very young age with children. Preschool kids are taught to put their things away, elementary kids are taught to put things away. Why is it so hard for us to do in our own homes or offices? We get lazy – and I’m just as guilty. We’re tired at the end of the day; we’re rushing from point A to point B. We’re doing a million things all at once. Before you know it, scissors are left out on the table, clothes are strewn across the floor, the screwdriver that was used to fix something inside is now crammed in the ‘junk drawer’. Sounding familiar? Get in the habit of putting your things away – where they belong – right away.
Flat surfaces are not for piles
This applies to any flat surface in a home or office. If you have piles of paper on the kitchen counter, how likely is it that you will miss something important in that pile? Is it necessary to keep all the flyers that come to your door or mailbox? The used glasses, plates, cups, etc. need to go in the sink or dishwasher. The half eaten bag of chips left on the counter can, and should be put away. Flat surfaces tend to be magnets for stuff. In addition, it can take no time at all for clutter to build up.
As I look back at my top three organizing tips, I see that these are actually tips I do daily. Most times I’m grumbling that I seem to be the only one doing them. I actually know they’re working when I hear a panic, “MOM, have you seen my car keys?” and I can easily respond, “They’re with all the other keys in the drawer where they should be.” Refraining myself from adding, “Dumb ass – you’d know where they are if you put them away in the proper place the first time”. What I truly enjoy is: no rushing around the house searching for keys; no banging of drawers or cupboards frantically looking for the keys. It’s as simple as walking the the key drawer and getting the car keys. Wa-la!
If anything, I hope to be teaching my family that being organized takes a little bit of time and effort every day, but the rewards far out-way the consequences of letting things pile up and become disorganized, misplaced or lost.